Home workout: Our home gym essentials for everything from weights to yoga
11th Nov 2020
Whether you’re a kettlebell queen or seasoned at savasana, here is everything you will need for the best home workout.
As we all adjust to our new reality, our health has come into focus more than ever. Without the help of gyms, exercise classes and even a well-earned vent with a friend over coffee, we’ve been forced to take on sole responsibility for our physical and mental wellbeing.
As ideas of BMI and weight have become outdated as indicators of overall health, strength has come even more important as a sign of health. Good strength will help maintain muscle mass, keep joints flexible and supple and even increase bone density, along with all the mental benefits that come with regular exercise.
Whether you just can’t get enough of circuits, are working on building up your core through pilates, or simply try to move your body at least once a day, maintaining and developing your strength is vital. And it’s becoming easier and easier to do all this from home, there are just a few essentials you need to start that home training regime, video yoga class or running route.
From kettlebells to resistance training, there are some things we thought could only be done at the gym. That is, until they all closed down for six months and we had to make do. Now, putting in a solid session from home not only seems plausible but totally normal.
Any home gym aficionado will tell you that building one takes time and tweaking and it’s true. Creating a perfect home gym in a tight space often requires you to think outside the box. However, there are a few multi-functional items you should invest in at the beginning to ensure you’re up and running with plenty of variety in your workouts.
WHAT YOU NEED
It can be difficult to know where to begin when you’re starting your home gym, but weights should be your first investment. Gyms can provide big, fancy equipment but there are not many gym workouts you can’t do if you’ve got a few weights.
Hand weights or a kettlebell are good first-time investments as they offer a great range of motion and exercise options. This UF kettlebell (€30) is 6kg, a perfect starting weight for beginners wanting to build upper body strength.
For our full breakdown of tried and tested workout leggings, head over here. For gym work and training, a comfortable, a supportive pair is a must. Look for a pair that are high-waisted so they will stay nice and snug no matter what. Under Armour HG ankle crop pair (€60) is super light and the material is designed to keep you cool when you break a sweat.
Now that you’ve got the weights covered, it’s time to think more about cardio. Get your Rocky Balboa on with a skipping rope like this one from Adidas (€20). It’s designed for speed so you can really up the tempo of your workout and get that heart rate going.
If you want to intensify your home workout a little more, a slam ball is a great addition. They’re perfect for toning and working muscles, are fairly compact and offer a range of different exercises – a slam ball will really up your game. This one from Adidas (€40) is a good starter one at 5kg.
Yoga & Pilates
Yoga and pilates make for excellent warm down exercises after some intensive cardio, or they can wake you up so you start the day feeling fresh and strong.
Yoga is great because it can be an hour-long stretch and meditation or a simple five minutes while you wait for the kettle to boil. All you need is the right kit at the right attitude.
WHAT YOU NEED
As we become more germophobic over the last few months, the living room floor feels like a rather unhygienic place to lie your sweaty body. Investment in a good yoga mat should be your first priority. Look for one that with a good thickness, between 6mm-8mm, as this will improve your comfort and support as you work.
This Adidas 8mm yoga mat (€30) has a non-slip surface too, so you’ll be able to push yourself without worrying about movement on the mat.
You will need a fitted top when you’re doing yoga or pilates – one attempt at the downward dog with a loose t-shirt falling around your head will teach you that. But you’re at home, why bother adding more to the washing pile than you have to?
A light support bra is perfect for this kind of exercise because there’s no high-octane activity but you do require flexibility and movement. Look for a bra that doesn’t make you feel strapped in and one you can move freely in, like this Nike Indy longline bra (€40). The thin straps and racerback make it feel weightless, keeping your arms and shoulder completely free, while the longline, wick-dry body means you’ll feel secure no matter how big a stretch you get in.
If you need an extra layer to keep you warm (as you hold out on turning the heat on until at least the end of October), this Nike Dry Get Fit tanktop (€25) is a great option. Sleeveless, it leaves your arms free while the lightweight material ( made of 75% sustainable materials) will hug your body for a comfortable, cosy stretch.
For a beginner, once you have a mat and gym wear you can move comfortably in, you’re all set to go. However, as you progress there are a few extras that will help you really test yourself, particularly in Pilates.
Resistance bands are designed to improve your muscular control and flexibility. These Adidas ones (€28) offer two different levels of resistance so you can start with the stretchier one and work your way up.
If you really can’t stick another video-guided class and just need to get outside for a blast, a run is a great way to get the lungs going and warm up your body after a day sitting at the computer. It’s also great for alleviating stress, which we could all use during these strange times.
Whether you’re out for long, low-intensity jogs or are more of a sunrise sprints person, a few things are crucial to a successful run that’ll make you want to do it all again the next day.
WHAT YOU NEED
Finding the right running shoes is absolutely paramount to good running practice. Wearing trainers that don’t offer you the support you need will not only make for an uncomfortable outing, but it can impact your joints too. Think of your trainers like a building’s foundation. Your ankles, knees, hips and back are all built on the foundation of your trainers and if the foundation is not secure then it throws everything out of kilter. You should not be running in gym trainers, it’s better to invest in a good pair of running shoes – your body will thank you for it.
As well as having expert advice on hand in their shops, Lifestyle Sports have a section on trainers specifically tailored to running on their website. Each trainer has a detailed description so read them thoroughly. The good thing is, with Lifestyle Sports next-day delivery, you won’t have to wait long to try them out and they offer easy free returns too.
Asics have long been a go-to running trainer brand as they offer a wide range of supports and tend to be a very secure, hardy running shoe. These Gel-Kayano trainers (€180) are ideal if your feet are prone to rolling inward.
If you feel you need don’t need a ton of support, Nike’s Pegasus trainer (€120) has been around since 1983, so you know they must be beloved by runners around the world. Considered lighter and more flexible than Asics, they’re very breathable with lots of padding that’s needed for regular runners.
How far and fast you’re running will decide exactly what you need to wear but typically, you should be working in light layers that can be easily taken off and tied around your waist if needs be.
Some people run hot and some run cold so keep your core as warm as you like. For your extremities, you can be a little more frugal with your layers. These Adidas Original M20 shorts (€30) are a great buy as they can be layered over leggings on a chilly morning or worn as a base layer. The inner lining keeps your legs warm, wicking away moisture and preventing chaffing, while the waistline rises at the back so they won’t pull down during movement.
Once you have your route planned and your gear on, you’re more or less ready to go. However, if you like to multitask and want to catch up with the day’s news or simply keep pace with an up-tempo soundtrack, Then you’ve got to bring your phone along.
If you’ve already suffered a smashed screen from your phone bouncing out of your pocket or simply can’t fit it in the key pocket of your leggings, an armband is a must. This Nike one (€24) is super secure and ventilated so it won’t feel sweaty against your arm. The clear covering means you can switch songs or answer a call all while your phone stays protected from splashes of rain.
Whether you’re a kettlebell queen or seasoned at savasana pick up the latest workout accessories from your fave brands at LifeStyleSports.com with free next day delivery and free returns. From yoga mats and blocks to resistant bands and skipping ropes, we’ve got you covered with the latest technology to train. Working out from home has never been easier.
Read more: Tried and tested gym gear: Our favourite workout leggings right now
Read more: Pandemic running: ‘Pre-coronavirus, my challenge for 2020 was to strengthen my lungs’
Read more: I took up yoga during lockdown, here is what the practice taught me
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